Date: 3 May 2023
Photo | From left: Brad Bartley, General Manager; Fred Herr, Plant Manager; Shane Merryman, President & CEO; Howard Holesapple, VP of Sales; Lindsey Merryman, Lamination Line Program Manager; and Patsy Tomasetti, Lamination Line Department Lead of Consolidated Glass Corporation
“We saw the move into laminating glass as an exciting opportunity to explore. It gives us an open door to many new areas, such as security, acoustic and decorative glass. After thoroughly reviewing six lines, we chose Glaston’s ProL lamination thanks to its convection heating and simplicity,” say Consolidated Glass Corporation’s Brad Bartley, General Manager, and Lindsey Merryman, Lamination Line Program Manager.
INVESTING TO EXCEL
Consolidated Glass Corporation is no newcomer to diamond-standard interior glass nor making larger transitions to stay ahead of the game. Now being led by the founding family’s fifth-generation president, the company started in 1967 in New Castle, Pennsylvania, fabricating the then fashionable jalousie doors and windows formed with multiple parallel panes of glass. It made a significant expansion in 1994 with its first tempering furnace to supply store fixtures, high-end shower doors and enclosures.
In 2015, Consolidated Glass purchased its second tempering line, a Glaston RC Series, to be able to keep up its outstanding five- to ten-day lead times and push into the lucrative office partition market.
VENTURING INTO LAMINATION
The same spirit of growth and expansion into new glass processing areas led the company to venture into laminated glass in 2021. This meant a new 15,000 sq. ft. building and automated lamination line.
Lindsey Merryman explains the company’s ambitions for laminated glass. Although construction codes are becoming ever stricter to improve force resistance for interior glass like office partitions, lamination opens up many doors of opportunity in completely new markets.
“I don’t have a crystal ball to see where we will eventually end up – but there are so many exciting applications, especially in security glass, acoustic glass and decorative glass. We’re looking forward to exploring the opportunities,” she says.
CONVECTION MADE SIMPLE
Brad Bartley joined the company in August 2021 from the flat float glass industry. His first-priority job at Consolidated Glass was to research lamination equipment options. He evaluated the features, benefits, cost and reputation of the suppliers.
“We reviewed six different lines, comparing price and performance,” Brad recalls. “We were familiar with Glaston’s background and knew the technology they bring to the tempering world. That was important to us.”
But what caught his attention most was the convection heating system used on the ProL line as opposed to the infrared (IR) heating systems that most competitors use.
“For me, just the simplicity was impressive. And when you’re investing that much in new technology, you want to know that the supplier is highly experienced in that area. I also spoke with close friends in the industry who praised Glaston’s lamination technology,” he says.
GOOD, RESPONSIVE COMMUNICATION
The company made the decision to proceed with Glaston in fall 2021. Construction for the new building began on July 7, 2022. The new lamination line with its autoclave was commissioned and started up in March 2023.
“The entire process went very well – from the sales process with Jeff Giles to the complete commissioning. Anna Holmqvist and Marjaana Papula did a great job with project management. Both are very detail oriented, highly responsive and good at communicating – despite the time difference between Finland and the US,” Brad says.
The technicians were also great. “Pasi Jaakkola was our main technician. We really appreciated his knowledge. It was good to build a relationship with him during the time he worked with us,” Lindsey says.
BEST-KEPT SECRET IN THE NORTHEAST
Currently, the company is running one shift on the lamination line and is moving quickly into their busy spring-summer season.
“Our entire team is very excited about the quality of laminated glass we have produced. It’s beautiful!” Lindsey says. “We’ve got a lot of great people working with us who are definitely up for the challenge. They’re willing to learn and work hard. So, we’re getting used to the lamination line and are continuing to add to our knowledge each day.”
Besides being the “dream come true,” as President & CEO Shane Merryman says, the new lamination line allows Consolidated Glass to continue delivering on many of their other strengths.
“We produce a great interior glass product, we are really easy to do business with – and we have unbeatable delivery lead times. In all, we’re the best-kept secret in the Northeast!” Brad says.